Old School Musical (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Thom Compton 20.01.2020

Review for Old School Musical on Nintendo Switch

Rhythm games are a staple of the industry that dates back for quite some time now, yet feels underrepresented sometimes. Now, they haven't fallen to the wayside like maze games or rail shooters, but in general, they don't get the kind of attention that first-person shooters or RPGs do. Because of this, they always feel special, and yet very niche... and Old School Musical is a new rhythm title for the Switch that fits those adjectives perfectly.

Old School Musical tells the story of Tib and Rob, two young boys who have been trained and tortured by their mother their entire lives. You find out pretty early on that she is ruthless in her training, and spends all her time basically abusing the two boys. They dream of someday getting off their island and seeing new places. Unfortunately, when that day comes, it's due to a malicious force destroying the island, forcing the boys to venture to a bizarre space station with portals to other worlds. Right from the beginning, Old School Musical might seem like a dark and dreary experience. However, thanks to the games impeccable sense of humour, everything remains light hearted throughout.

Better still, the joke cracking never cheapens the experience, and the story remains front and centre. Since the comedy at hand is actually funny, this helps tremendously to make the journey of Tib and Rob both fresh and brilliantly told. There is a point later in where exposition and a more open world slow things down to a halt, but it's brief and doesn't do too much damage in the process. On their adventure, Tib and Rob venture through worlds inspired by old video games. While there's no effort to totally ape the art style of these games every time, when it is done, it's done spectacularly well. It's very clear that not only did the artist responsible has done research, but he/she has an absolute admiration for every game visited. One early level, for instance, is based on a popular racing title, and it looks perfect.

Screenshot for Old School Musical on Nintendo Switch

Even when this can't accurately translate its art to the title it is inspired by, it does a fantastic job translating the actual feel of that game. One level seems heavily inspired by one of the most important first-person shooters of all time, and this manages to replicate that titles atmosphere and feel even though it can't directly imitate it. Coupled with the fact that the pixel art in Old School Musical is both stunning and expertly crafted, and this is one of the most visibly pleasing titles to come out in some time.

What is a rhythm game though without good music? Well, one won't have to find out today, because Old School Musical earns the highest marks there as well. While a handful of songs aren't quite as catchy in the main story, for the most part they are exhilarating and memorable as some of the best chiptune examples in the medium. Yponeko has crafted a soundtrack that could easily be listened outside of the game on your commute or in your downtime.

The gameplay is also pretty solid, though it is also the biggest blemish. What's so wonderful about it is how impressively simple it is. The A, B, Y, X, and shoulder L and R buttons need to be pushed as they are displayed on screen. They scroll towards the middle (with the exception of L and R) and precise button presses award health, while missing or fumbling a press cost health. This is handled very well, with the only drawback being that it pulls focus from the on screen action. This is disappointing at times as it feels like you are playing the soundtrack, and missing everything that's going on with Tib and Rob. Fortunately, this doesn't happen too often, and is really something you get used to over time. Many levels are also smart to keep the action condescended in the same part of the screen, meaning you really won't miss much of the action while playing.

Screenshot for Old School Musical on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Old School Musical wear it's inspirations on its sleeves, but manages to find its own path. There's a lot to do beyond the main story, and with different difficulty modes (which you can change at the start of each level) there's a lot of game to see here. While it isn't without its faults, Old School Musical is absurdly fun, and worthy of a place in any Switch owners library who fancies themselves a fan of music.

Developer

La Moutarde

Publisher

Plug In Digital

Genre

Rhythm

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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